Declaring it an emergency purchase, City Manager Bob Vitas made the decision to put a portable restroom trailer at two local gyms at a cost of $77,466.
The trailers, bought from Portable Restroom Trailers, were delivered about a month ago to the Frederick Douglass Gym in Bahama Village and the Police Athletic League's gym at Truman Annex, according to paperwork attached to this week's City Commission meeting.
The funding will come from the city manager's contingency fund, Vitas said in a memo to the commission.
The Douglass Gym, 111 Olivia St., has gone without working restrooms for two years while the PAL gym, 1287 Truman Annex, has relied on a chemical toilet with no hand-washing station, according to the paperwork.
"It's disgusting," City Commissioner Clayton Lopez said of the portable toilet unit that had been the only restroom available at PAL's center.
Each trailer comprises one male, one female and one unisex unit, the paperwork said.
Lopez knows how long it's been since the Douglass gym's restrooms, kitchen and office had to be condemned by the city and shut off to the public. The ceiling began crumbling down during his mother's repast, held at the gym in December 2011.
"This is a necessity," he said. "We needed to do something, even if it's only a temporary fix, to let them know we care."
Vitas is allowed to make purchases under $20,000 on his own but may spend more if he deems the circumstance an emergency.
In a Sept. 23 letter to the commission, the city manager cited Florida Building Codes and said standards exist so that the public will not suffer "adverse health effects that can result if toilets are not available."
Over the past two years, the children who play basketball or hang out after school at the Douglass Gym have been escorted to restrooms at the Bahama Village Music Program, which is a few doors down from the gym.
Commissioners will review the purchase and vote on its ratification at their meeting set for 6 p.m., Wednesday, at Old City Hall, 510 Greene St.
The city has committed to restoring the Douglass Gym, the only part of the historic school that's still standing. Early estimates show it will cost between $1.2 million and $1.4 million to restore.
City staff didn't have to go through a formal competitive bidding process for the restroom trailers, but it did solicit three quotes. Portable Restroom Trailers came in the lowest at $77,466 while the other quotes were $80,600 and $115,260.
Portable Restroom Trailers, with offices in South Carolina and Ohio, was able to deliver the trailers within two days, Vitas said.